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Understand Fish in Alaska | Freshwater Fish

By February 4, 2019January 9th, 2020No Comments

Photo of Alaska freshwater fish Sockeye salmonBefore planning your ultimate Alaska fishing adventure, it’s important to know a little about the many different fish in Alaska. Freshwater fish are abundant on Afognak Island, and they’re so much fun to catch! Whether you want to bring fish home or you prefer to catch and release, the fish in Alaska will leave you in awe. They’re large, powerful, and brilliantly colored. As the only lodge on Afognak Island, Afognak Wilderness Lodge offers unparalleled access to the most remote fishing waters in Alaska. Here is the scoop on six of the most sought after Alaska freshwater fish on Afognak Island.

Alaska Fish Species: Salmon

No Alaska fishing trip would be complete without our most famous seafood: salmon. Although salmon do spend much of their lives in saltwater, you can catch them in Afognak Island’s freshwater streams. These are the three most common types of this popular Alaska fish species:

  • Sockeye salmon aren’t the largest species of salmon, but they’re one of the most sought after. They begin their lives with red skin in freshwater; then, they head out to the ocean and turn blue. Finally, they return to their home streams and change back to red. They’re delicious and typically grow between seven and 15 pounds.
  • The smallest, yet most numerous, Pacific salmon is pink salmon. Males develop large humps on their backs during spawning season. Their meat is lighter and more delicate than some other salmon species.
  • Silver salmon, also known as coho salmon, grow between eight and 20 pounds. While living in saltwater and shortly after returning to spawn, silver salmon are silver with black spots. While spawning, they turn a brilliant shade of red.

Alaska Freshwater Fish: Trout and More

Although the most famous Alaska freshwater fish are salmon, there are plenty of other types of fish in Alaska for you to catch. Two of our other popular Alaska fish species are trout and char. Some trout migrate to the ocean as adults, but much like salmon, they also return to freshwater for spawning season. Because you’ll catch them in our streams, we’re considering them Alaska freshwater fish.Photo of Alaska Freshwater Fish Rainbow Trout

  • Rainbow trout are characterized by a red stripe running down their sides. They vary in color but always have a light belly and speckled back. The largest rainbow trout can grow up to 20 pounds, so they’re a lot of fun to catch.
  • When rainbow trout migrate to saltwater, they become steelhead trout. Much like salmon, steelhead trout must migrate home to freshwater before spawning. Because of their time in the sea, steelheads are larger than rainbows
  • Dolly Varden are often considered trout, but they’re technically char. You can distinguish between the two by the color of their back speckles: char have light spots. When in saltwater, Dolly Varden are a silver-green color. When in freshwater, they have brown sides and red spots. 

Afognak Island, Alaska, Freshwater Fish

Now that you know what distinguishes all these Alaska fish species, you’re ready to head out and catch them. Afognak Wilderness Lodge is the only lodge on the beautiful, remote Afognak Island, so you’ll find an abundance of fish in Alaska while you’re here. Call 360-799-3250 to book your Alaska fishing trip today!